West Linn HS closed on Tuesday after fire above gym

West Linn HS closed on Tuesday after fire above gym

WEST LINN, Ore. – West Linn High School will be closed on Tuesday after a fire spread through an attic crawl space on Monday afternoon.

Firefighters said the fire started when sparks from welders lit a bush on fire near the school. The welders thought they put the fire out, but embers had floated to the roof and got sucked into a vent.

The fire then flared up in the attic near the gym, although the gym itself was not badly damaged, according to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue spokesman Brian Barker.

Principal Lou Bailey said the school will be closed until officials can make sure all the electrical systems are functioning properly after so much water was sprayed in the building.

The school also still has the lingering smell of smoke.

Bailey said they will regroup on Tuesday to decide what will happen about classes on Wednesday.

Firefighters first got the call around 2 p.m. Barker said all the students and staff were evacuated from the building. Nobody was hurt in the fire.

The first firefighters to arrive called for a second and third alarm, which brings more firefighters to the scene. Barker said that was mostly because of the large size of the building.

The fire managed to start in a space above the gym's sprinkler system, which meant fire crews had to check the entire crawlspace for hotspots.

Several firefighters climbed onto the school's roof and used chainsaws to cut large holes to reach the fire, as well as to vent heat and smoke.

There were about 1,500 people evacuated from the school, Barker said.